Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Early election prognostication

I'm going to go ahead and make my presidential election prediction right now, subject to wild swings as new evidence comes in: Obama is going to beat Romney, and it's not going to be very close.

I'm basing this on largely on the status of, a site I followed obsessively in 2008, and they wound up being a pretty good indicator of the race.

Electoral map as of 5/2/2012

Since Romney secured the nomination, nationwide polling on Obama vs. Romney has been close enough to be called a dead heat in some cases.  This one, for example.  Despite this, right now on a state by state basis, the election numbers look really, really good for the incumbent. takes statewide polls and uses them as a basis for counting up the electoral votes that will be awarded in each area.  They use seven categories: Strong, Weak, and Barely Dem; Strong, Weak, and Barely GOP, and Exactly Tied.  At the present time, taking all preferences into account including strong, weak, and barely Dem, Obama wins by 290 EV to 215. It's a solid lead of 75 EV with 33 up in the air.

Also noteworthy is the fact that a lot more of Obama's lead comes from "Strong Dem" states (187) than the reverse. There are only 76 "Strong GOP" electoral votes, and in fact, if you add Strong and Weak GOP, they STILL don't add up to total as much as Strong Dem.

There are a few caveats in this assessment.  One is that the state by state numbers are probably not as current as the national numbers.  Since it is more work to poll in fifty separate states than to randomly sample the entire nation, the numbers at the site are almost certainly lagging behind, and do not reflect Romney's post-primary bump, such as it is.  Another issue is that campaign season hasn't really started yet.  Since the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission concluded in the Supreme Court, private businesses now have the right to make unlimited campaign contributions without revealing who they are.  It's quite possible that this development could strongly favor Romney.

By the same token, though, Obama hasn't properly started his campaign either, and campaigning has always been his strength.  Arguably he was a much better candidate than a president.  (Although, needless to say, in my eyes he's a better campaigner AND president than Romney would be.)  There's no reason to believe that he won't start pulling further ahead once he starts getting out there on the trail.  Furthermore, Obama is already vetted.  Die hards still believe (and will always believe) in birther conspiracies and so forth, but the "mysterious background" is already a dead issue for most voters, and so is the weakness that he had of being perceived as inexperienced in '08.

Not to be overlooked is the fact that Republicans can't stand Romney.  In early April after Santorum dropped out, he had a 34% favorability rating, the lowest of any post-primary candidate in decades.  George W. Bush at least had the "beer factor" going for him, the claim that voters thought he'd be a good guy to have a beer with (although I didn't see it).  Even among Republicans who hate Obama the most, the overall sentiment about Romney seems to tend towards "Eh... could be worse."

So I'm not setting this prediction in stone, but I'm not yet seeing very many scenarios that lead to President Romney.


  1. I tend to agree. It is extremely hard to see a path to victory for Romney. Not saying it is not possible, and there is a lot of time for stuff to change, but still, I don't know where Romney gets the 270 votes needed. So much needs to break his way and he would need to run a nearly perfect campaign. Obama has much more room for error

  2. Don't forget the "Mormon" factor, AKA, the "not-a-true-Christian" factor.

  3. Anonymous1:42 PM

    Another thing going against Romney is all this war on women legislation going on in the states will turn out women hard in November. Romney will suffer even more for it.

  4. agree completely--- the only thing i would warn is that if too many democrats get cocky about the state of things and fail to vote altogether then we could still have a real upset

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  6. NC went blue back in 2008 (first time since Carter). I'm afraid, however, that the energized young and black voters that helped make that happen won't be so energized this time, but we'll see.

    The problem with Presidential elections is that unless my state falls the way I voted, my little old vote is about as meaningless as yelling "Go! Go! RUN!!" at my TV screen as my team's wide receiver is dodging defenders.

    A blue NC in 2012 would be 15 in the bag for Barry, though, and as the Arizona State University administration has pointed out, who knows what this young, inexperienced Chicago lawyer may accomplish some day?

  7. Even though I am not particularly thrilled with Obama, I will gladly take him over Romney. I worry that Obama capitalized a lot on high voter turnout in ’08 due to wars on false pretenses and such, and I also worry that all the staunch conservatives will hate Obama enough to vote for Romney even if they are not too fond of him. “Better a Mormon than a Muslim” and other such nonsense.

    My political leanings are anything but in the majority, and I find I am completely unable to predict what the majority of the country will do. We shall see. I sure as heck will be at the ballot box this November.

  8. I hope you are right. I think there is one thing that plays against Romney over everything else: he is simply not likeable, even among Republicans.

  9. Anonymous6:33 PM

    A few things:

    1. There no scenario that gets romney to 270 without Ohio and Obama is way ahead in Ohio.

    2. When you look at the polling, people are either voting for or against Obama. It's hard to win as just the alternative to the other guy. Ask John Kerry. Actually I think Romney is to the GOP what Kerry was to Democrats in 2004. No one really likes him. He was just the best candidate from a weak field. That's not enough to win.

    3. I think it's going to be close in popular vote, but not that close in the Electoral College. In both cases, closer than 2008.

    4. I think superpacs will have a huge impact in the down ticket races, but for president, these ads are only being scene by older people. Young people get almost all their news online where if these ads are shown, they will be accompanied by critiques showing whether or not the claims they make are true. For some reason, both parties are still running campaigns as if it's 1956 with regards to media.

  10. Trying to prop up GOP religious voters Mitt "vulture capitalist" Romney makes this move:
    WTF? As he talked recently to the founders? Maybe he received an email from George Washington or John Adams elucidating him? He is batshit crazy religious pompous prick. Just like the other crazy religious ignoramus dude Todd "legitimate rape" Akin. Trash him quickly. Rid the world of this walking nightmares filled with superstitions on their otherwise empty brains.

  11. @Anonymous-That's funny, I always thought that Romney was a republican Kerry: very beige.